Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Are You Covered in Debt?

That is what the radio commercials ask every day.  Do you have over $10,000 dollars in credit card debt, then call ____________.  The President signed a bill provided relief to big businesses, where is your relief?  We can help you get out of debt so you can live the life you deserve.

Like most of you I have debt.  I have a mortgage on my home, I am in the process of paying off a second vehicle, and some small loans that we have a plan to pay off within 9 months.  I also have one debt that leaves me feeling helpless.  This debt is so large that I know for certain that no "debt relief" company can handle it for me.  This is the debt I owe God.  I owe Him for creating me, I owe Him for paying for my sin.  You know the scriptures, "The wages of sin is death."  "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  I am in the negatives so much that I can NEVER work my way out!  But thanks be to God that my balance sheet looks better than I just described. Written on the top of my balance sheet is "Paid in Full, by Account of my Son."

Jesus, the Son of God, the Sinless man who was also God, paid the way for me to come to God.  Paul says it something like this, "God made Him who had no sin (debt) to become sin (indebted) for us that we might become the righteousness (state of being debt free) of God in Him." (2 Cor 5:21).

How did I acquire this debt relief?  Simply.  I did the same thing God asks of you.  By faith, put on Christ. - Gal 3:26-27.

Are you covered in debt or are you living debt free?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Three weeks ago, Andrew (age 12) and I changed the oil on my truck as well as the fuel filter.  There is a trick to changing the filter so that you do not spray fuel over yourself and your son.  That trick to relieve the pressure is in the "repair manual" I keep in the garage.  But I could not find my manual.  The last time I used it was for a brake job. I knew where it was supposed to be, but it was not there.  I had lost my instruction book, I even wondered if I had thrown it away or if it was in the "yard sale" pile.  I spent more time looking for that book than I did on the fuel filter, which I changed anyway and did not relieve the pressure properly.  I despise losing things.

When I was about my son's age, my parents took us to that Wonderful World in Orlando.  My older and younger brothers went one direction with Mom while Dad and I went a different way.  When Dad and I finished our ride, we were to meet the other three at a certain shaded area.  We arrived early and I convinced Dad to let me go to the restroom around the corner.  Making my way back to Dad, I came to realize I was on the other side of the Park -- I was in Frontier Land headed toward Liberty Square instead of Adventure Land.  Once I realized I was lost and calmed down, I decided I had made a wrong turn at the water fountain.  I ran back to where I went wrong, and ran to the meeting spot.  Mom and my younger brother were there waiting nervously.  Dad and my older brother had gone to look for me.  This was decades before cell phones and family service radios, we had to wait for them to get back before we could go on.

I share these two events to introduce you to two similar events in the Old Testament:

1. Josiah in 2 Kngs 22:13, "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us." When the workers discovered the lost book of God, the king knew they had to return to following that law. 

2. Hosea 14:1-2, "Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, "Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips." Like Israel, when I was lost, I had to return.  I had to admit I was wrong in the direction I was going and turn around to find my father.

Lost? Find the Book, and come home. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Vacation Bible School is Coming Soon

Here is a pictorial review of our VBS since 2005.  At the end is an advertisement for VBS 2010 - Journey to Egypt: Digging into the Life of Joseph.

Enjoy and come be with us.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Universal Care

Universal Health Care, Insurance requirements, penalties, etc:  I am not sure what to say or think about this new policy in the United States.  Like Majority Leader Pelosi suggested, I guess we will find out what is in this bill now that it is passed into law.  However, I am concerned about forcing folks to purchase insurance and the ultimate cost to our nation and to individual consumers.  One friend was correct when he suggested that we simply trust God no matter what.

I want to tell you about a greater care package available to you.  It is the Universal Spiritual Health Care Package.  Jesus offers this USHC system though His agency, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by Me," (Jn 14:6).

The Spiritual recommendations of this policy promote spiritual growth in the following way: "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet 1:5-8).

Following this Spiritual Health Regimen produces great Spiritual benefits, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Gal 5:16, 22-23).

One feature of this USHC policy that lifts it high above any other plan is that the premium is paid in full by the policy writer (Acts 20:28; Phil 2:5ff; Rom 5:7-8).

Consider this policy for your Spiritual Health.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God on the Mountain

Last night, my family and I attended Curry Church of Christ to fellowship with our brethren there and to hear a message from a dear friend and fellow Faulkner Alumni - Neal Pollard.  The theme of Curry's meeting is Mountain Top Experiences and last night, Neal took us to Mt Carmel.  He drew a great mental picture of the setting of Carmel and what the mountain may have represented in physical, social, and religious settings.   Then he pointed out four things about God's power demonstrated around the events of Elijah's confrontation with the 450 prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel.  

On the Mountain We see God's Power . . .
1. Over Nature.  God had stopped the rain for 3 1/2 years. Something the Baals could not do.
2. In His Word.  The drought came about because Ahab led the people away from God's command.
3. Over the Competition.  Baal is simply an idol and had no power.  God clearly demonstrates this when He is able to rain down fire (which Baal could not do) and not only consume the sacrifice, but the alter, the wood, and a trench full of water.
4. In His Name.  Elijah acted in the Name of the Lord.  It is by the authority of the Lord we have access to God.  God's name is great and is always to be honored above all names.  Everything we do is "in the name of the Lord." Col 3:17.

Where do you see God's power demonstrated?

Have a great day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mission Effort

Last night our elders met with a young Couple -- Richard and Mary Harp.  The Harps are dedicating the next 5 years of their young life and young marriage to work with a mission effort in Scotland.  Scotland recently declared itself by an act of Parliament as a Pagan Nation. This declaration only confirms by decree a truth about this country.  The Scottish people are kind but post-Christian as far as religious culture.  The Harps will be working with the East Kilbride congregation.  Follow this link to their mission plan: HarpsinScotland

Please pray for this young couple and their desire to work in the Kingdom.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Break

Taking a break from blogging this week while the family is on Spring Break -- see y'all later . . .

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Discoveries of Aging

Last month I celebrated my 43rd birthday.  Although I am still younger than some I am older than many, and now have some bits of wisdom I would like to pass along to those behind me chronologically.

  1. I started out with nothing and still have most of it.
  2. I am finally getting my head together; now my body is falling apart.
  3. Funny, I don'e remember being absent-minded.
  4. Fact - Life is unfair!
  5. It is easier to get older than to get wiser.
  6. You can't make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
  7. If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would have put them on my knees.
  8. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the length and depth.
  9. I spend a lot more time thinking about the hereafter:  I walk in a room and wonder what I am here after.
  10. Funny, I don't remember being . . . absent-minded.
What words of wisdom do you have to pass along? 


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Do You Expect?

What follows is a list of common expectations that describe "The Perfect Preacher." Lists like this one circulate around and are funny only because they touch a nerve.  

  1. The perfect preacher preaches exactly 10 minutes. 
  2. He condemns sin roundly but never hurts anyone's feelings. 
  3. He works from 8 AM until midnight and is also the church janitor. 
  4. He makes $400 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $300 a week to the church.
  5. He is 32 years old and has 40 years experience. 
  6. He never forgets a name and spends most of his time praying to God. He remembers everyone's birthdate and of course, their anniversary dates as well.
  7. He also knows when somebody is sick and needs visitation even without anyone telling him about it. 
  8. He loves to spend time with his family and the has no problem with you dropping in unexpectedly. 
  9. He also spends most of his time in preparation to speak God's Word. 
  10. Before and after services, he never fails to speak to each person present and will also take the time to listen to you for 15 minutes and pray for each person no less than 10 minutes after listening to them. 
  11. The perfect preacher eats nutritiously, gets his rest, exercises daily, and is always there to listen to you night or day. 
  12. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens. 
  13. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church. 
  14. He makes 15 home visits a day, is always in his office to be handy when needed and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched. 
  15. He spends all day each Saturday preparing the Sunday sermon, and he focuses on his family too. 

Now for a serious question: What do you expect from the preacher where you worship?  Preachers, how well are you doing as a servant of God and His people?

Leave your comments!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finish this Thought . . .

I am asking you the reader to complete this post today.  I will begin with a couple of thoughts and leave the floor open for you to interject your thoughts.  Here we go . . .

God is . . . .

  • Love,
  • Light,
  • Good . . .

Keep this going.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Original Undercover Boss

On Sunday evenings, when we get home in time, we watch a new "reality" show on CBS - Undercover Boss.  The premise of this show is simple:  A CEO of a major company such as Waste Management, 7-11, or White Castle sheds his suit and tie, dons a "blue collar," and then goes to work in entry level and lower management positions in the different departments of his or her company.  These bosses learn a lot about the companies they run and the people who work for them.  Of the three of four episodes we watched, these bosses began to empathize with their worker, they began to understand the stresses of lower wage employees and as a result are more open to listening to those employees and implementing changes to help.

This is not a new concept.  Who can forget Mark Twain's story, The Prince and the Pauper, where the young Prince Edward VI abandons the palace to switch places with his doppleganger, Tom Canty who lived in Offal Court on Pudding Lane.  The young prince's experience as a pauper serves him well after the death of his father, King Henry VII.

Even that story rings of familiarity.  A ruler stepping down and living as a subject to better understand them so to give them relief from their plight is a classic plot.  Paul records, "(Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." (Col 1:15-18).  Jesus being one with God was king of heaven, and came to earth as one of us to understand us and to save us from the plight of sin. That is why the Hebrew penmen records, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:14-16).

I am glad God understands me.  Praise God for sending His Son, Jesus, to provide for my deliverance.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Milford and Bessie Minor: Heroes of Marriage

This blog is edited from the Fall/Winter '08 Our Families Magazine published by Faulkner University Cloverdale Center for Family Strengths.  The Minors are members where we attend and I serve as minister.  I asked them around the time of their 73rd anniversary what they would say to couples just beginning their marriage.  Sister Bessie smiled and said, "Tell them to stay together, that love gets sweeter and sweeter every year." Thank you, Barbara, Donald, Gail, Virginia, and Roger for sharing your parents with us. -- Scott 

On September 2, 2006, exactly seventy years since their own marriage, Milford and Bessie Minor were present at the Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee for the wedding of one of their granddaughters. She had chosen that date to honor the love and commitment that she and the other grandchildren had always observed in the marriage of their grandparents. Milford and Bessie grew up in adjoining communities in rural Walker County, Alabama. Both knew and experienced the difficulties of farm life, especially the rough economic times as the country endured and emerged from the Great Depression. In 1922, times were very dire when Milford, at the age of seven, lost both of his parents in the flu epidemic that spread across the area. He and his six siblings were orphaned when their father, mother, and paternal grandmother died within one week. His father’s sister moved into the home and kept the family together earning what the land could produce. Bessie’s father was a cotton farmer and supplemented his family’s income by making sorghum molasses when the cotton was harvested. In 1930, Bessie’s mother died from
a debilitating illness. As the oldest surviving daughter, Bessie, at age thirteen, became housekeeper for her father and four older brothers and a mother figure to a younger sister and two baby brothers.

The major work on farms recessed for Sundays. The Lord’s Day was a day of worship and visiting other congregations for special meetings, singings, and singing schools. It was at gatherings such as these that Milford and Bessie became acquainted and became part of a group of young people that usually attended such events in the area. As they became young adults their interest in each other grew and they began
seeking time to be together. To visit Bessie, Milford had to walk several miles from his home to hers. Other times they were able to borrow the family mule and buggy for trips to church services and socials.

At the home of the local Justice of the Peace, and with a couple of friends as witnesses, Milford, age 21, and Bessie, age 19, became husband and wife on September 2, 1936. For the first two weeks of their marriage they stayed with Milford’s family. When they found a small house to rent, Milford continued to help his family with the farming and to seek extra work with anyone else who needed a worker. His pay was rarely cash because no one had money; the pay was usually in goods that could be traded. Bessie’s first cook stove was bought with 14 bales of hay that Milford had earned working for his cousin. Other needed household items came from family and friends who had something extra that they knew the newlyweds needed and could use.

In September 1938, two years after their marriage, the first of their five children was born, followed quickly by the other four. The couple recognized that more resources were required to raise and educate their children. To meet the need, Milford and Bessie left the farm and moved into the small coal mining town of Parrish, where Milford found work in the coal mines. Bessie continued her work as wife, mother, and full-time homemaker, but for the fi rst time she had electricity to make some things easier. When a teen-ager, Bessie had been baptized into Christ at the rural Central congregation in Liberty Hill where she had always attended.
When she and Milford moved into town, she became a member of the Parrish Church of Christ where she has been a faithful member since 1941. All of their children were baptized there, and in 1972, Milford, also, was baptized and is today the oldest member of the Parrish congregation where their youngest son serves as
one of the elders. Though slowed by age, and no longer able to lead in the services or teach class, Milford and Bessie are in regular attendance at the scheduled services, gospel meetings, vacation bible schools, and other special services.

Their children remain faithful in the Lord’s church. The congregations their large family attend are scattered in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. Four of their children and five grandchildren became
educators working in public and Christian schools. Milford’s and Bessie’s teaching example and influence continue to have great impact on their children, eleven grandchildren, and fifteen great-grandchildren.

When asked how they had been able to endure the childhood hardships, the trials of raising a large family, and be able to establish and maintain a good marriage for seventy-two (73 now) years, the answer was, “It hasn’t always been easy, but we took a vow to love, honor, and cherish as long as we both lived and we know and understand what a vow is.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Man I Desire To Be

Four years ago, as I was completing a Masters' Degree in Ministry, our instructor (Paul Tarrence) assigned us at simple project.  That project was to reflect on the Man we Desired to be.  I wrote this list then and occasionally pull it out to look at it, today was one of those days.  I reflected on how I am becoming that man and admit I am still a work in progress.

The Man I Desire to Be
  • Above all a servant of God.
  • A man who is a leader in service to others.
  • A man focused on the needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual) of his family.
  • A person with the financial security to be generous in giving to the Lord and in helping others with their needs.
  • A fried to all I meet.
  • A man of God's Word in reflection and action.
  • A man motivated by a pure heart.
  • A man of ever deepening faith and trust in God.
  • A living testimony of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
  • A man Christ-like in attitude and behavior.
  • A teacher of teachers and a disciple of Christ discipling others to reconciliation with God through Christ (2 Tim 2:2; 2 Cor 5:18ff).
  • A man aware of and sensitive to the thoughts and emotions of others, yet not allowing the values or misunderstandings of others to change my core-values that have their basis upon and in the principles of God's Word.
What would your list include:  List the attributes of the Person You Would Like to Be.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ten Religious Books That Influenced Me

Yesterday (Monday) I wrote two posts.  The second one was my "Passing the Torch" article.  Go back and read that if you missed it and be sure to read the other articles I linked to.  The first post yesterday concerned ten books that are among my favorite non-religious books. Today, I am sharing a list of Ten Religious Books that Influenced Me.  You will notice that I did not include the Bible in this list.  The Bible is by far the most important of all the religious books I read, but for this list, I wanted to include books by men and not the Book of Books by God.

1. Old Light on New Worship - John Price
2. Biblical Eldership - Alexander Strauch
3. Jesus and the Victory of God - N. T. Wright
4. What Did Saint Paul Really Say - N. T. Wright
5. The Gospel According to Jesus - John MacArthur
6. Living Jesus - Luke Timothy Johnson
7. The End Times - Russell Boatman
8. Is the Holy Spirit for Me - Harvey Floyd
9. Showtime - Dan Chambers
10. The God Who Risks - John Sanders

Honorable Mention -
- Twelve Ordinary Men - John MacArthur
- The God of the Towel - Jim McGuiggan
- Adrift - Phil Sanders
- Saddlebags, City Streets, and Cyberspace - Michael Cassey

Keep Reading and Keep Growing


Monday, March 1, 2010

Passing the Torch

Monday I read more than a few blogs concerning preachers whose influence is ongoing:
Chris writes about Dowel Flatt.
While Brian writes about Mike Tanaro.
Paul writes about her Dad.
Lisa writes about her Dad too.
And John writes about Richard Travis and others.

Today, I join the effort in Passing the Torch.

There are a lot of preachers in my life.  Many of them from my childhood and the congregations we attended.  Some of those who impacted my life were: John Bird, Jim Wisdom, and Ron Missildine.  These three were preachers where I attended.  Brother John Bird was the preacher when I obeyed the gospel at Leonard Street in Pensacola, FL.  He was one of the most kind hearted and tender men I had the privilege of knowing.  From him I learned the importance of prayer and saw in him a man who often knelt before the throne of God. Jim Wisdom is the man who "tricked" me into preaching my first sermon and (other than my mom) most influenced my love for singing.  He was the first preacher I knew as a friend and not just "the Preacher." If Jim had not been a part of our congregation when I was a pre-teen and young teen, I do not know if I would be a preacher.  Ron Missildine preached across town. I attended where he preached while a teenager since that congregation (Warrington Church of Christ) had an earlier service I could attend allowing me to worship and then go to work at a restaurant on Sunday afternoon.  Ron was much like Jim Wisdom in that he was a friend, and like John Bird he was a man who you knew had a relationship with God.  Ron's lessons were Biblical, practical, and easy to understand.  I hope in some way I am like the three of them.

Again, there have been a lot of preachers, but the one that stands out most, was a "retired" preacher who taught Bible Class when I was a teenager - Dale McCaleb. I only heard him preach on a few occasions.  Most of his influence was in class and in fellowship before and after worship.  Bro. McCaleb grew up not far from where I now live.  He is part of the "Greatest Generation"  who had a hard life and worked to make ends meet.  He worked with Navy and preached where ever he lived.  His life finally brought him to NAS Pensacola, where he decided to stay.  Dale and Ruby began worshiping with the Leonard Street Church of Christ when I was about 14 years old.  Soon Dale was teaching the teens, talking about a life of preaching, and going to school at Montgomery Bible School and meeting the love of life (Ruby).  His knowledge of scripture, his relationship with the Savior, his love for God, his example of a life spent in service inspired me.  When he spoke of his education, of his wife, of his God and Savior, I could hang on every word.  He was my grandfather's friend, but he was and is in many ways my hero.  Bro McCaleb's health is not what it used to be, the years are catching up to him, (he is about 90 years old).  This past year, I had the honor to preach a series of sermons at the congregation were I grew up and where he still attends.  He was there, sitting in the third row, smiling, nodding approval, and saying, "Amen."  After 20 or more years of preaching, having his approval meant so much to me.  Brother Dale McCaleb -- "Thank you."  I pray I can be a similar influence as I strive to follow Christ.


My Ten Favorite Non-Religious Books to Read

This morning I thought I would give you a reading list.  I like to read.  I read fiction, non-fiction, and religious books.  I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Lemony Snickett series and a few other pre-teen and teen books, but I also read on my level.  Here are ten books (both fiction and non-ficiton) I liked enough to read most of them more than once.

1. The Old Man and the Sea - Earnest Hemingway  - (Classic man against nature)
2. A Farewell to Arms - Earnest Hemingway - (The realities of war on one man)
3. A Painted House - John Grisham - (a departure from the normal Grisham style)
4. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - (I really like Jem, Scout, and Atticus Finch)
5. 1776 - David McCullough - (Historical reconstruction)
6. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson - (Not much better than pirates, treasure, and adventures at sea)
7. Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain - (The copy I first read had an early 1900's publishing date)
8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain - (same as above)
9. Greece to 14 A.D. (?? Shuckburg, Putnam Bros. 1906) - (A rare history book)
10. Due South - R. Scott Brunner - (Scott's dad is a friend of mine.  This book is a collection of humorous stories and anecdotes about being a Southerner.  Scott's maternal grandparents are members where I preach and recently celebrated their 73 wedding anniversary.)

Grab a book a read.